Keith Haring “Action Figures”

I found my inspi­ra­tion for this les­son at Deep Space Sparkle.  It’s the end of the school year, and while this project looks fan­tas­tic on reg­u­lar white paper, I needed to go a step fur­ther to really grab my 6th graders’ atten­tion!  So, I cre­ated my sam­ple on alu­minum foil with col­or­ful Sharpies.  The result.… my stu­dents said this was their favorite art project this year!
Keith Har­ing (1958–1990) was born and raised in Penn­syl­va­nia.  He made his debut as an artist at age 19 with his graffiti-inspired chalk draw­ings in the sub­ways of New York City.  He became known for his “Pop Art” style of active, sim­pli­fied fig­ures, bold out­lines and bright col­ors.  He died at age 41 from com­pli­ca­tions of AIDS.


  • Card­board or tag board (We used file fold­ers — opened, cut on the fold and trimmed to a rectangle.)
  • White paper the same size as your cardboard
  • Heavy duty alu­minum foil, slightly larger than your cardboard 
  • Tape (any kind)
  • Pen­cil
  • Sharpies (or other per­ma­nent mark­ers), in a vari­ety of colors

1. On your paper, draw 3 or more large stick fig­ures in action poses.
2. Draw an out­line around your stick fig­ures to cre­ate some “Keith Haring-like” peo­ple.
3. Cover your card­board with alu­minum foil, tap­ing the foil to the back.
4. Now tape your draw­ing to the front, on top of the foil.
5. Trace over your draw­ing with pen­cil, leav­ing an impres­sion in the foil.
6. Care­fully remove your draw­ing.
7. Next, use a black Sharpie to out­line your fig­ures on the foil.
8. Fill in the fig­ures with solid, bright col­ors.
9. Finally, add “echo lines” around each fig­ure, vary­ing the col­ors, thick­ness and types of lines. Keep adding more echo lines until you’ve filled in all of the neg­a­tive space around your figures!


8 Responses to Keith Haring “Action Figures”

  1. Great project to illus­trate the work of Keith Haring.

    I love the col­ors and patterns

  2. Hope Hunter Knight May 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    wow, the foil really brings new life to the keith har­ing fig­ure les­son — i will try this too. thanks for sharing!

  3. Jana May 27, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I love this idea! Your site has inspired me to do more art projects with my son and to teach him about great artists and their work (as a per­son with a B.A. in art his­tory, I’m ashamed I didn’t think of that sooner). Thank you so much for sharing!!

  4. Jodibobo May 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    How cool are those?

  5. Hayley May 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    This is a great les­son! I have nom­i­nated you for Ver­sa­tile Blog­ger award. Please see my blog to accept your award.

  6. SaraBethJ May 31, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Just curi­ous if you used tool­ing foil for this project? Or reg­u­lar cook­ing alu­minum foil? Love the look!

  7. TeachKidsArt May 31, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Just reg­u­lar old heavy weight alu­minum foil!

  8. Blue-Bird June 3, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    Wow, just found your blog!

    I’m amazed! New fol­lower here!

    Ilse at

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